For Coach Mike Jacobs, the University of Mobile baseball field was never just a baseball field.
“It was a mission field. He didn’t run a baseball program. He ran a discipleship program. Coach Jacobs always thought of the person first and the player second. He was preparing you for life,” said former player and current UM campus pastor Jared Baria ’09.
Jacobs Field and Archway
The University of Mobile’s beloved athletic director and head baseball coach passed away suddenly Dec. 3, 2019, after suffering a heart attack at the baseball field on campus that bears his name. He left a legacy as a man of faith and integrity who invested his life in the young men he coached, in his family, and in service to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The baseball field at the University of Mobile was named Jacobs Field in 2011 after Coach Jacobs compiled 700 career wins. The Jacobs Field Archway at the entrance to Jacobs Field was dedicated in 2021 to honor his memory.
A Coach’s Calling
In a profile in the university’s TorchLight magazine, Jacobs spoke about his calling as a coach at the University of Mobile.
“I’ve always felt like this was a ministry for me, that God brought me here not only to coach baseball, but to mentor young athletes and prepare them for what life is going to bring them when they leave here. I try to be an example of what I feel God wants these students to see,” Jacobs said.
Overall, Coach Jacobs earned 993 total wins in 30 seasons while leading the University of Mobile Rams baseball program. He reached the 30-win plateau in 17 of his 30 seasons as head coach and led the Rams to seven conference championships and a berth in the 2001 NAIA World Series. Coach Jacobs was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2018. In July of 2019, he was named athletic director at UM, leading one of the NAIA’s largest athletic programs.
He won Conference Coach of the Year three times in his career; in 1998, 2001 and 2008. He coached 20 total All-Americans, 88 First-Team All-Conference performers, 10 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, 13 conference Gold Glove winners, and 102 conference All-Academic performers, and saw 35 players go on to sign professional contracts.
As a college player, Jacobs had an outstanding career as a four-year letterman at University of South Alabama and was the Jaguars’ leading hitter in 1976.
Coach: A Prayer
A prayer titled “Coach” written by Baria and read at Jacobs’ memorial service recalled familiar scenes at Jacobs Field, with the coach’s wife, Joy, in the stands.
O Lord in this brokenness, please calm the raging storms,
Just get me past the gate and let me make it past the dorms.
Where my heart is not so heavy, and loaded down with hurt,
Just take it out and leave it, upon the brick-crushed dirt.
Where everything was good and your children were at play,
Just take me back again, to another Saturday.
Where the fans are in their seats, hearing Mrs. Joy shout,
Just put me in the box when the wind is blowing out.
Where the grass is freshly cut, and the Rams always get the win,
Just put me there on second, and have Jacobs wave me in.
Where lives have been transformed and where baseball’s just a game
Just leave me there with him, on the field that bears his name.
Where a man lived out his faith and made the gospel known,
Just let me help to water, the countless seeds he’s sown.
Where he is right now, I can tell from all their faces,
Lord, let me stand beside him, when I’m finished running bases.
UM Legacy: People of the Halls
The UM Legacy story collection celebrates the rich history of the University of Mobile by sharing the stories of people past and present who helped make UM what it is today. This story is part of the “People of the Halls” series spotlighting the people behind the names of the buildings and sports facilities at the University of Mobile. Read more UM Legacy stories at umobile.edu/umlegacy.